8 best slow cookers for delicious dinners with minimal fuss
Slow cooking is an ancient method that’s shared by almost all cultures across the globe, from a British beef stew to an Indian lamb curry. Happily, it’s a method that often uses cheaper ingredients such as braising steak, pork cheeks or root vegetables, that are cooked low and slow and transformed into delicious, fully flavoured dishes.
Electric slow cookers are also an energy-efficient way of cooking compared to an electric oven, for example, so you can come home with a hot meal ready and waiting for you without breaking the bank.
Although slow cookers are rightly associated with things like soups and stews, we cooked a wide variety of dishes during our testing, even successfully proving and baking a loaf of bread in a slow cooker.
There’s a lot of inspiration online, especially on YouTube, and in books (we loved The Easy Indian Slow Cooker Cookbook by Hari Ghotra, £11.99, Blackwells.co.uk) so think outside the box and you’ll get the most out of your investment.
You can pick up a basic slow cooker for not much money at all but be prepared to pay extra if you want to be able to saute and brown food in the cooker or have additional functionality such as more precise control over cooking times and temperatures or to be able to use your slow cooker for sous vide cooking.
We got great results from all the cookers we tested and found even the smallest of them were fine for a family of four, but consider the larger models if you regularly batch cook or feed a crowd.
We cooked a number of dishes in each of the cookers, assessing their capacity, functionality, ease of operation and use and the flavour of the finished results. We also considered how easy the cookers were to clean and store.
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